The Vampire Lovers (1970)

At the very least, The Vampire Lovers is a titillating experience, at the most… it’s a titillating experience. That isn’t to say it’s a bad film, simply one that isn’t particularly interesting. Though, I have to say, the Pitt factor is enough to push it past the original Hammer Dracula at least ten-fold. This film is unashamed of it’s sexy roots, focusing primarily on the sexiness of Ingrid Pitt to propel the story. She is the focus of attention, as are her ample chest and her sexy way of moving, talking.. and well breathing. Images don’t really do justice to her allure, and it’s a shame the film doesn’t stand up to her presence. The story is rather pedestrian, girls get sick, doctor think it’s anaemia… but oops! It’s vampires! Aside from a few interesting visual touches (the opening scene especially, watching the vampires wander in their veils is eerily beautiful), even the cinematography and set design is rather pedestrian.

I do appreciate it tackling the inherit sexual nature of vampirism head on, though it’s take is still fairly shallow. There is that entire association with “abnormal” sexual acts with both evil and disease that’s somewhat problematic. As is the religious connotations of the original evil originating through the act and manipulation of women. I do think, in a sort of twisted way, the film gives most power to God, and of all other creatures on earth, a beautiful woman comes second. It’s kind of interesting to think about, though the film doesn’t fully explore it.

This being my second Hammer film, I’m not entirely convinced the studio’s films are for me. I’ll probably check out some of their non-vampire work before dismissing them, but I can’t say I’m looking forward to my further adventures of Hammer and Company.


7 responses to “The Vampire Lovers (1970)

  1. I currently have the 2 for 1 disc of both “The Countess Dracula” and “The Vampire Lovers” as number 1 in my queue – they’ve skipped over it the last 7 chances so far…

    I boosted it to the top purely on the strength of seeing Ingrid Pitt in “The House That Dripped Blood”. I thought she was great in her segment – yes sexy for sure, but she also had a terrific presence about her.

    How do the Amicus films work for you? Especially the compilation ones? They typically seem to have a bigger sense of fun to them, though I’ve really liked the Hammer films I’ve seen so far as well (I loved “Horror Of Dracula”, but I was able to see it for the first time on a restored print in a theatre…So that probably helped).

  2. Let me know how The Countess Dracula is when you get it, I hear it’s better than this. Which is enough reason for me to see it.

    I also haven’t seen The House that Dripped Blood, I really want to though. I actually don’t think I’ve seen any of the Amicus films, at least not from looking down a quick googled lists.

  3. I’ve wanted to see “Lust for a Vampire”, the 2nd film of the “Hammer lesbian vampire trilogy” (?!) practically since I was a kid, since a thumbnail review on one of the video movie guides gave it a good review & praised its twist (moving?) ending. Ingrid Pitt’s name haunted my adolescent dreams too . . . but I still haven’t seen ’em!

    Rollin’s “Lips of Blood” is supposed to have a lot of dreamy, diaphanously-clad vampires wandering the streets too. Something else I need to see . . .

  4. I’ve always kind of liked The Vampire Lovers, but it is one of those that you wish they had put a little bit more thought into it. Dr. Jekyll & Sister Hyde, made around the same time, also falls short for similar reasons, but that one is still kind of a favorite of mine. Of the three Hammer lesbian vampire films, this one is my favorite and Ingrid Pitt has a lot to do with that.

    As far as Hammer goes, I’d recommend Horror of Dracula and its non-Christopher Lee sequel Brides of Dracula. For non-vampire entries, I strongly recommend Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed, the fifth in that series and one of the very best Hammers of all (if you haven’t seen the previous entries it’s not really an issue).

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